Last night, City Paper received word that Richard Mellon Scaife's divorce has moved to the trial stage -- but that arguments are taking place in a closed courtroom, with no access to the public or press.And for those wondering why this is important:
City Paper confirmed that information with Family Court judge Alan Hertzberg's office this morning. And in fact courtroom proceedings are taking place even now.
We asked for a copy of the order closing the proceedings this morning, but were told that the order, too, was under seal. In other words, we don't know what's going on inside the courtroom -- and we don't even know why we can't find out.
It's well-settled that courtroom proceedings should be open to the press and the public, who have a vested stake in how justice is carried out. Especially in this case -- where Pittsburghers have an obvious interest in how Scaife's marital estate is divided. Not only does Scaife own one of the city's two daily newspapers, whose future may be affected by the outcome of the case, but Scaife-controlled foundations contribute millions of dollars a year to national think tanks as well as local nonprofit groups like the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and the Carnegie Library of McKeesport.Considering the prurient peekaboo bought and paid for by DickieCougarMellonScaife (can someone say Arkansas Project?) I am curious as to why he's concerned about his privacy all of a sudden.